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Picking Decking: How To Deal the Perfect Backyard Deck


Your swimming pool may be the main attraction of your alfresco entertainment center, but it’s the decking that provides the personality. Even the most generic looking pool shapes become standouts when dressed exquisitely.

Fortunately, decking material choices are plentiful, whether your pool installation is a new one or you are looking to give your existing one a facelift!

The Legal Stuff

This phase is not as much fun as all the phases that come after it, but getting the legalities addressed first will help to appropriately “pave the way!”

So, as it is with just about every home improvement, it’s important to educate yourself on local zoning ordinances. When you have the necessary permits in hand, you will have proper peace of mind.

Otherwise, you may find yourself in a frustrating and probably expensive position – one that doesn’t lend itself to throwing the big BBQ you were planning to christen your newly renovated space.

Pool Decking: Where to Begin?

Once you have license to party on, you’re in the big decision phase. It can feel overwhelming, because there are SO many choices. But for the best foundation for the aesthetics you envision, take the following categories into consideration. Once you are solid on these answers, you will narrow the field a bit.

  1. Installation – Do you want the self-satisfaction of a do-it-yourself deck or do you prefer a professional installation? For example, if you want a poured concrete pool deck, you need to hire a professional. If brick decking is more your style, that’s a do-able DIY. More on this later…
  2. Maintenance – This is a biggie, because it’s the “know thyself” part of the process. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure with a deck that requires a good deal of upkeep when over the long term you haven’t the time, the inclination, or the funds to do so. Wood decking is absolutely stunning, but when a lower quality wood deck is neglected, it goes south fast!
  3. Budget – Buyer’s regret takes all the fun out of a new pool deck. You might want a high-end tile, but it may not be budget appropriate. You can however create spectacular looks with, for example, stamped concrete that’s more affordable.
  4. Safety – Again, don’t be taken in by a certain look as it may not be appropriate for outdoors. You may love your bathroom tile, but that type of tile is way too slippery. Consult with your contractor or home improvement store about the kind of tile that will put safety first.

Pool Decking Options

Now, in no particular order of preference, let’s take a look at some options!


Fashioned from concrete or stone, pavers will give you a nice, polished effect. They showcase the design of everything from bricks to cobblestones to granite. Pavers may be slightly more expensive than concrete, but they make for a cool DIY project, AND it is relatively simple to repair cracked ones with replacement pavers.

On the possible downside:

  • They need an excellent foundation to set and stay properly.
  • You may need to consider a “retaining border” to help pavers stay in place.

If you like the idea of integrating your poolside elements with your surrounding landscaping, wood is a warm and welcoming material. It also offers an inexpensive solution with a ton of design options! While the installation can technically be taken on by the DIY-savvy, if you want a more comprehensive decking solution, the joist systems should be left to the professionals.

On the possible downside:

  • Lower quality wood decking can soon become an eyesore if not properly cared for, AND it will be expensive to remove and then replace. A more expensive tropical hardwood deck (such as Ipe) will dramatically increase the cost but have a much longer lifespan.
  • Consistent maintenance involves staining/refinishing/sealing.

Composite wood can be an reasonable alternative. It will be more expensive than lower quality wood decking, and you will need to hire someone to install it, but it will give you the visual appearance which you seek with less maintenance.


For a classic look, you can’t beat brick. Like pavers, you can install them yourself as long as you are careful to lay that gravel or sand foundation — the heart of a successful deck with this material. What’s also nice about this option is that your maintenance is low, and you can just follow the yellow brick road to your backyard sanctuary!

On the possible downside:

  • A solid foundation is a must to maintain the integrity of the job.
  • Keep an eye on shaded areas to remove any moss that may form.

This popular option has many faces. Twenty homes in your neighborhood can install a concrete pool deck, and they’ll all look completely unique. You can have yours stamped with any kind of design or have it brush-finished. Slip resistant, durable, and very affordable, you have a zillion motif choices with concrete.

On the possible downside:

  • You need this one done professionally.
  • Cold climates can wreak havoc over a long period of freezing and thawing seasons.

A world of options awaits in the tile sector! Any color, pattern, shape, or size is up for grabs! You just need to step away from any glazed finishes due to the safety factor. PLUS, it’s a great and relatively inexpensive DIY project.

On the possible downside:

  • Be very careful to ensure that your selection has enough inherent texture to make it as skid-proof as possible.

Tile’s sister, stone, offers a rich way to introduce your pool and its lounge area. Here too, the unglazed alternatives are endless: sandstone, granite, travertine, etc. While these finishes are at the higher end of the price spectrum, stone will elevate your aesthetic.

On the possible downside:

  • You shouldn’t DIY this one – as you will want a concrete base slab professionally laid.
  • Refrain from the darker hues, as they will absorb the heat and pass it along to your feet.

At the end of the day, give your poolside oasis a makeover with a deck that makes it sing. Take a look at these beautiful settings… courtesy of HGTV. Possibilities, meet endless!

Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves a well-outfitted pool deck. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard.